Undertale Over Achieves

Crowd-Funded Indie RPG an 8-bit Hit

Still courtesy Undertale

A pair of skeleton brothers speaking in Comic Sans, a killer robot game show host, a powerful captain of the guard and a mess of puzzles to solve along the way—what more could you possibly ask for?

An 8-bit role-playing game with a storyline that keeps the intrigue high, Toby Fox’s Undertale is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish.

Developed for Windows and Mac OS X, Undertale only offers around seven hours of playtime, but has a lot to show for it: whimsical encounters sure to please, a really cool soundtrack composed by Fox himself, and the choice to either kill your enemies and level up, or befriend them and gain information.

According to the game’s website, every enemy can be defeated without violence: “Dance with a slime. Pet a dog. Whisper your favorite secret to a knight,” it says. “Or ignore this choice and rain destruction upon your foes.”

Undertale is set in the wake of a vicious war between humankind and monsters, wherein the bloodthirsty beasts were defeated, banished to an underworld and sealed there with magic. You, the player, are a human character who has fallen through the barrier into the world of monsters, and it’s your mission to find your way back to the surface.

Interaction with the world in the game includes chatting up non-player characters and engaging with objects in order to further your progress, and get a better sense of what’s going on. Aside from encountering enemies and friends alike, there are a healthy handful of nooks and crannies that are just begging to be stumbled upon and explored.

Another interesting element of playing the game is that the ending will change, based on moral choices the player makes. To attack an enemy or spare their life will change the overall outcome of your journey. Despite the short length of playtime, three different endings keep things interesting and allow you to play the whole thing through more than once—there’s the neutral ending, the pacifist ending, and the insane murder spree ending.

When asked if extra downloadable content, prequels or sequels are in store for Undertale, Fox has said he has no further plans for the game. Since gaining mainstream success, however, he has begun selling merchandise.

Fox had no intended target audience for this game, just gamers. This may explain the non-binary nature of the player character, an androgynous figure who can be named at the player’s discretion. According to the Undertale Wikia site, naming your character certain monikers will trigger custom responses from the game, and in one case, even raise the level of difficulty.

Undertale can be downloaded on its official website at www.undertale.com or purchased on Steam, the digital game store for $10.99. The game already has over 13,000 reviews on the Steam site, most of which have been very positive. If you’re still unsure, though, there’s a free downloadable demo online, for any would-be gamer.